Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Effective SEM Requires Landing Page Optimization

SEM is all about generating qualified leads. However, for all of the time and attention that most of us spend on picking keywords and setting bid prices, your biggest lever in driving down your cost per lead is the optimization of the landing page.

To quantify the impact, let's assume you are buying a keyword, like "divorce lawyer" for $5.00 per click.
  • If 2% of your clicks end up completing a lead form, your effective cost per lead is $250.00
  • However, if 10% of your clicks complete the form, your effective cost per lead drops down to $50.00

The math is pretty simple, but the impact is huge.

Before you start any SEM campaign, you should be sure that you are set up to track conversions. Google makes it pretty easy to calculate your cost/lead by providing you with a "conversion pixel." A conversion pixel is a snippet of code that you put on a web page that is shown when the lead form is submitted (usually a "thank you" or "confirmation" page).

All of that is straight forward enough. However, where most marketers fall down is that they don't anticipate the fact that they are going to need to constantly test different landing pages to find the highest converting one. So, as you build your website and start buying traffic, make sure that your technology platform makes it easy to generate new landing pages.

The best landing pages in paid search convert at upwards of 50%. Most of the lawyers that I've seen buy paid search convert between 4-6%. Even if you don't get it to 50%, landing page optimization is the key to success.

See also:

SEM: Why Google Works for Lawyers

SEM Trickiness: Buy Broad Match and Get The Wrong Client